UAE to create new task force to create next-generation digital economy

Digitally driven plan, which would be based on the highest levels of innovation, will take economy well into the future, says minister of economy

Abdulla bin Touq, UAE Minister of Economy, at Gitex Global Leaders Vision in Dubai on Tuesday. Photo: Action UAE
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The UAE will create a task force to develop a next-generation economy structure for 2050-60, driven by creative initiatives that will prepare the government to tackle unprecedented global crises, Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq said on Tuesday.

The task force will inspire government and business leaders to think beyond the effects of crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic, and the digitally driven plan, which would be based on the highest levels of innovation, will take the economy well into the future, Mr bin Touq said at the Gitex Global Leaders Vision event in Dubai.

He added that key cross-national business-to-business discussions are taking place at Expo 2020 Dubai with digitalisation, diversification and tourism dominating agendas.

The UAE has forged ahead in preparing its economy for the future by enacting several programmes to spur digital participation from all sectors of society.

The nation leads the Arab world in terms of digital progress and preparedness, a recent survey by the Portulans Institute and Google showed. It ranks third among emerging economies and 23rd overall.

Several key areas of the economy have been encouraging, reflecting the resilience of the country. During the pandemic last year, the UAE posted a 13 per cent increase in exports compared to 2019.

Companies, meanwhile, are ramping up hiring, expecting revenue to surge as much as 50 per cent in the next 12 months.

The UAE's economy is expected to grow 3.1 per cent in 2021, the International Monetary Fund reported. That is higher than the UAE Central Bank’s estimate, which projects the country’s economy will expand by 2.1 per cent this year and 4.2 per cent in 2022.

On Tuesday, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, told the World Investment Forum that the UAE seeks to attract investment in new sectors to diversify its economy away from oil.

Gitex Global Leaders Vision also discussed the UAE government's plan for the private sector to contribute 50 per cent to the upstream development of its 2030 mission to explore Venus and the Asteroid Belt.

Ibrahim Al Qasim, executive director for the space sector at the UAE Space Agency, said the next space race would take place in the private sector, with governments providing investment and regulations to mitigate risks and enable critical innovation.

The Abu Dhabi Investment Office, meanwhile, announced that it attracted eight major ICT players to the emirate this year.

Souad Al Hosani, acting director of investor care, said the emirate is prioritising public-private sector co-operation and proved an abundance of opportunities by lifting inward foreign direct investment by 44 per cent last year compared to 2019, despite the pandemic.

Updated: October 19, 2021, 4:22 PM